Trudeau was very fortunate to have two wonderful artists visit our school through the Artist in Residence Studio Program. This year, Alex Ramirez and Augusta Lutynski were our visiting artists. All students in K-7 participated in this program and Alex and Augusta have written about the experiences as well as making a video of the work. This was definitely a highlight of the year for many students.
Threads of Life - Alex Ramirez
Our project process involved working towards a collaborative installation piece intended to create a sense of hope and interconnectedness, and to remind us of the importance of all our relationships. The art provocations, in the form of stories relating to the beauty of community and to exquisite social interconnections, provided multiple opportunities for students and teachers to explore personal and interpersonal identities: where we are in this moment; how we relate to ourselves; and how we see and define the interconnections between ourselves and all the relationships in our lives. The storytelling, and our work with textiles and fibres, helped to focus these explorations of identity and interconnection.
In practicing Mayan oral traditions via personal stories, I worked to provoke collaborators to trace their histories,emphasizing human rights, social justice and community building. Linking traditional Mayan textiles and fiber-arts to the process implementation furthered the dialogue and the symbolism of strengthening connections: multiple threads are needed to create a vibrant weaving, and many people are needed to create a vibrant and diverse social fabric. The individual student artworks possess imprinted stories and intimate meanings brought forth by each participant, embedding their identity into each creative endeavour. Each piece contributes to the whole in a unique way, transforming and strengthening each other when connected, together reminding us of the diverse interconnections we all share.
This explorative work acknowledges the complex social threads that link every one of us. Student stories are embedded within the works, generating a new space for reflection. Acting as a framework for hope, love, trust and resilience, the interlocking pieces both reflect and respond to personal and collective longings for connection during a time where the quality of our shared space with one another is significantly reduced and reimagined. The overarching purpose of this project is to connect students with the opportunity that art provides for us: the opportunity to provoke and sustain openhearted communication; to honour the unique voices and experiences of our children; and to illuminate our interconnections and our yearnings for a sense of place in community with others.
Place-Based Art - Augusta Lutynski
Kindergarteners and grades ones, twos, and threes at Trudeau Elementary worked outdoors on a place based art project at George Park, located two blocks from the school. The students explored the park with their senses and experienced the many sounds, smells, feelings, and sights within that space. The students noted the sounds of puddles, the placement of rocks, the smell of trees, and the sounds of birds and shared those experiences through storytelling, drawing, and making. Choosing one experience to work with for our final installation, the students made paper-mache art that tells a story of each of their experiences. Throughout their time making, some projects merged together and a few students ended up collaborating on shared experiences. As part of the final class, they brought their objects of place back to George Park, and we held a temporary outdoor installation. The students placed their art contextually in the park and visited each of their classmate’s works, reflecting on their unique experiences and collective experiences within that space. Spending time in George Park and deeply sensing the environment brought to light an intrinsic interconnectedness in shared space. Offering their presence with people, animals and plants created an understanding of community at George Park and a shared feeling of belonging within that place.